03/01/2015 12:46AM

Meadowlands: J L Cruze captures one of three winter finals

Lisa Photo
J L Cruze set a lifetime mark of 1:52 1/5 in the Charles Singer Memorial.

No one appreciated an improving trotter as much as the late Charles Singer. Somewhere above Singer had to smile with the performance of J L Cruze in the $49,000 final of a late closer in his name on Saturday night at the Meadowlands. The four-year-old altered son of Crazed was composed and professional in manhandling his rivals in a career best 1:52 1/5 clocking.

Driven by John Campbell, J L Cruze went wire-to-wire setting fractions of 27 4/5, 56 2/5 and 1:25 2/5 before sprinting a final quarter in 26 4/5 and leaving second choice Opulent Yankee in his wake. Blocking The Way finished third in the mile.

“He’s got a big heart,” said Eric Ell, the winning trainer who confessed that he had to take his horse to train at Harrington because his farm track was not in any kind of shape.

J L Cruze returned $3.20 winning for the fifth time in seven starts this year for owners William Kenneth Wood, William Dittmar, Jr., and Stephen Iaquinta..

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Favored Rockeyed Optimist didn’t disappoint his followers in the $59,000 final of the Sonsam series. The four-year-old rallied off a third over trip to score in a career-best equaling 1:50 mile. Brett Miller won his second straight behind the Steve Elliott trainee, defeating second-choice Major Uptrend with Bettorever finishing third.

“He dug in for me real nicely late,” said Miller following the race. “I was a little worried on the first turn that things wouldn’t develop. I thought Major Uptrend would have to get roughed up, but my horse was strong.”

Rockeyed Optimist, owned by Anthony Perretti, Virginia Berkner, A and B Stable, and Joseph Battaglia, has now won four of his five starts as a four-year-old.

There was one upset on the night of late closing finals at the Meadowlands as 9-2 shot Somenicebeach rolled out of the pocket to score for driver Ron Pierce in the $50,600 finale of the Burning Point for pacing mares. The Susan Oakes-owned four-year-old by Somebeachsomewhere on loan to trainer Mark Capone breezed to a personal best 1:51 1/5 clocking as pacesetting Southwind Serenity wore down badly in the stretch. Witch Dali rallied for second with Empress Deo picking up the show dough.

“She’s been battling a foot bruise,” Capone revealed following the race. “Ronnie gave her a great trip.”

Two divisions of the first leg of the William “Buddy” Gilmour series were contested for three-year-olds with National Seelster remaining unbeaten in three career starts. This time the son of Bettors Delight had to come first over but he was more than able to wear down the pacesetting Fast Movin Train in a 1:52 effort. Chris Ryder trains National Seelster and Andy Miller was in the bike.

Wiggle It Jiggleit also upped his winning streak to four without defeat during his career in the second $17,500 Gilmour division. Montrell Teague put the 1-5 favorite on the lead through a 27 3/5 opening quarter and never had an anxious moment cruising under the wire in 1:51 2/5, a bit slower than his Meadowlands debut score of 1:49 4/5.